It was a bit of a strange time, this summer for Ben Chilwell, from the highs of winning the Champions League with Chelsea and going to the Euros with England, to not featuring for a single minute during the continental tournament and then hardly kicking a ball in anger at Chelsea for the first few weeks of the season — enough to make anyone’s head spin, and make them lose their bearings of just what’s going on in their career.
When questioned about the situation at the time, Thomas Tuchel alluded to Chilwell needing a mental break, though he did not go into too much detail. Eventually, Chilwell would emerge from the wilderness, and finish the month of October in scintillating form, earning a nomination for Premier League Player of the Month, even, and also getting a recall to England for the November international break.
With so many highs and lows in such a short period of time, it’s a good thing the 24-year-old did in fact get his headspace in order — taking care of his “mentals”, as the sage philosopher Marshawn Lynch once said.
Ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Albania on Friday, Chilwell reflected on these developments, and how his relationship with the Chelsea head coach helped him through it.
“I was so eager to get back playing football, it was maybe coming across that I wanted it a bit too much.
“Me and (Tuchel) had a very honest conversation where he did say to me: ‘You know, I feel like mentally at the moment in training you’re pushing a bit too much to get in the team. We love you here, we know the qualities you possess just relax a little bit, you’re going to get back in’.
“It was brilliant to hear and then it was just about being patient and making sure I was ready so that when I was called upon to play, I could do my best. When you’ve got a manager that talks to you on a personal level [who] tells you the honest truth about what you need to do to get back on the team, of course it’s going to help you and give you a bit of clarity.”
-Ben Chilwell; source: Mail
Thomas Tuchel, putting the “man” in management, too!